“I was ready to sink into the earth with shame”

October 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
clipped from www.lettersofnote.com
Getting hideously drunk at a dinner party and embarrassing yourself is certainly nothing new.
As far back as the 9th Century, the beautifully named ‘Dunhuang Bureau of Etiquette’ insisted that local officials use the following letter template (dated 856) when sending apologies to offended dinner hosts. The guilty party would copy the template text, enter the dinner host’s name, sign the letter and then deliver with head bowed.
The letter was discovered, alongside thousands of other documents, in a sealed cave library in western China.

Translated Transcript

Yesterday, having drunk too much, I was intoxicated as to pass all bounds; but none of the rude and coarse language I used was uttered in a conscious state. The next morning, after hearing others speak on the subject, I realised what had happened, whereupon I was overwhelmed with confusion and ready to sink into the earth with shame.

The entire scroll, filled with Form Letters adapted for various situations, can be seen here.

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